Weather forecast for Thursday: It's a cool morning in the desert with temperatures only around 50 degrees for the very early starters. It picks up to nearer 70 in mid-afternoon while wind speeds climb from around 8mph at the start to 12mph around 11am and stay there.
It's hard to see a clear advantage but I'll pick two from the afternoon wave given the warmer conditions.
Count on Clark
Wyndham Clark shot a brilliant 61 on day one of this tournament in 2020, that 10-under opener giving him the first-round lead by two strokes.
So, three years on, I'm going to back him for another low one at TPC Scottsdale.
Clark has ended Thursday in the top four in two of his last five starts thanks to opening 66s in the CJ Cup and Houston Open.
He was also the first-round leader in June's Canadian Open courtesy of a 63.
With finishes of 16-29-16-10-50-37 in his last half-dozen tournaments, Clark is in good form and this could be a good place to catch him at a three-figure FRL price.
He heads out at 13.39pm.
Fowler to fly early
Rickie Fowler has twice bagged the first-round lead here in recent times which bodes well for Clark's repeat bid.
Fowler set the pace in both 2016 and 2019 while he was second after 18 holes in 2018 and third following Thursday's play in 2010.
As mentioned in my outright preview, Fowler has found a spark again since reuniting with Butch Harmon and that's shown in his day one performances too.
Fowler was eighth on the Thursday leaderboard in his final start of last season and in the current campaign he's been in the top six after lap one of both the Fortinet Championship and the Zozo Championship.
Coming in off 11th at Torrey Pines, the 2019 winner of this event is on the up and can make a mark from his 13.06pm tee time.
Sam to burn it up
Sam Burns seems to be flying under the radar for some reason and looks a FRL bet here at 50/1.
The American has banked four PGA Tour wins across 2021 and 2022 while also showing himself to be a player who can fly from the blocks.
In his last 46 starts, Burns has been the first-round leader at the Genesis Invitational, the BMW Championship and the Valspar Championship.
Meanwhile, on his last start he started out with a 64 to sit second after 18 holes of The American Express.
At this course, his bare form doesn't look great but Burns was third after round one in 2021 thanks to a 64 while he was also in the top 20 after the first circuit last year.
Burns is the morning pick at 08.10am.